2009-11-11

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During this morning's Leader's Questions in the Dáil, Éamon Gilmore accidentally coined the fortuitous phrase back bensioners, a portmanteau of back benchers and pensioners. Sadly, the official transcript only records his immediate correction of back benchers.

In case it isn't obvious: Government back benchers arrive in the Dáil chamber long enough to press a button according to the Chief Whip's direction. Once upon a time they would have insisted that they know what they're voting for, but that's untenable now that the Order of Business routinely include orders to have a single vote on whichever amendments a Minister wants.

So, Government backbenchers do no work but they continue to get paid well. Back bensioners indeed.

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